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More Than 10K Guns Have Been Turned Over in New Zealand Buyback

Program was approved after mosque shootings
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
In an image made from video, people bring their guns to exchange for money in Christchurch, New Zealand, in July.   (TVNZ via AP)

(Newser) – New Zealand has bought back more than 10,000 guns in the first month of a government program approved after the shootings at two mosques in March. The country now prohibits ownership of most semi-automatic weapons. Another 1,269 firearms have been turned in under an amnesty provision, per the Guardian. Those owners can't be asked by police how they got the weapons or be required to show a current license. Nearly $130 million has been set aside to fund the buybacks. The banned weapons can be turned in until Dec. 20. Owners aren't paid for weapons if the amnesty provision is invoked, per NPR. After Dec. 20, an official told the Washington Post, there's no excuse for owning a prohibited weapon; the penalty can be two to five years in prison.

Championed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the legislation was approved by the nation's parliament, 119-1, soon after a gunman killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch. Some gun owners began turning in their weapons in disgust at the slayings. Others immediately hoarded guns and ammunition in anticipation of bans. Gun groups campaigned against the ban, saying everyone shouldn't be punished for the crimes of one person; the Christchurch attacker had bought his weapons legally. Australia's buyback program after a mass shooting in 1996 collected about 650,000 weapons. The program was effective; gun deaths, including suicides, plummeted. (Read more New Zealand mosque shootings stories.)

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